Narcissistic Personality Disorder Today
Can the Narcissist Become Violent?
By: Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited
I am afraid of my ex-Narcissist. He stalks me, harasses me, threatens me verbally. Can he become real violent? Am I at risk? I am mostly worried about my children. Will he do something bad to them to get back at me?
Pathological narcissism is a spectrum of disorders. People suffering from the full blown, all-pervasive, personality distorting mental health disorder known as the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) - are, indeed, more prone to violence than others. Actually, the differential diagnosis (=the difference) between NPD and AsPD (Antisocial PD, psychopaths) is very blurred. Most psychopaths have narcissistic traits and many a narcissist are also sadists. Both types are devoid of empathy, remorseless, ruthless, and relentless in their pursuit of their goals (the narcissist's goal is narcissistic supply or the avoidance of narcissistic injury). Narcissists often use verbal and psychological abuse and violence against those closest to them. Some of them move from abstract aggression (the emotion leading to violence and permeating it) to the physically concrete sphere of violence. More about narcissistic rage here - The Iron Mask.
Many narcissists are also paranoid and vindictive. They aim to punish (by tormenting) and destroy the source of their frustration and pain.
Basically, there are only two ways of coping with vindictive narcissists:
1. To Frighten Them
Narcissists live in a state of constant rage, repressed aggression, envy and hatred. They firmly believe that everyone is like them. As a result, they are paranoid, suspicious, scared and erratic. Frightening the narcissist is a powerful behaviour modification tool. If sufficiently deterred – the narcissist promptly disengages, gives up everything he was fighting for and sometimes make amends.
To act effectively, one has to identify the vulnerabilities and susceptibilities of the narcissist and strike repeated, escalating blows at them – until the narcissist lets go and vanishes.
If a narcissist is hiding a personal fact – one should use this to threaten him. One should drop cryptic hints that there are mysterious witnesses to the events and recently revealed evidence. The narcissist has a very vivid imagination. Let his imagination do the rest.
The narcissist may have been involved in tax evasion, in malpractice, in child abuse, in infidelity – there are so many possibilities, which offer a rich vein of attack. If done cleverly, non-committally, gradually, in an escalating manner – the narcissist crumbles, disengages and disappears. He lowers his profile thoroughly in the hope of avoiding hurt and pain. Most narcissists have been known to disown and abandon a whole PNS (pathological narcissistic space) in response to a well-focused campaign by their victims. Thus, a narcissist may leave town, change a job, desert a field of professional interest, avoid friends and acquaintances – only to secure a cessation of the unrelenting pressure exerted on him by his victims.
I repeat: most of the drama takes place in the paranoid mind of the narcissist. His imagination runs amok. He finds himself snarled by horrifying scenarios, pursued by the vilest "certainties". The narcissist is his own worst persecutor and prosecutor.
You don't have to do much except utter a vague reference, make an ominous allusion, delineate a possible turn of events. The narcissist will do the rest for you. He is like a little child in the dark, generating the very monsters that paralyse him with fear.
Needless to add that all these activities have to be pursued legally, preferably through the good services of law offices and in broad daylight. If done in the wrong way – they might constitute extortion or blackmail, harassment and a host of other criminal offences.
2. To Lure Them
The other way to neutralize a vindictive narcissist is to offer him continued narcissistic supply until the war is over and won by you. Dazzled by the drug of narcissistic supply – the narcissist immediately becomes tamed, forgets his vindictiveness and triumphantly takes over his "property" and "territory". Under the influence of narcissistic supply, the narcissist is unable to tell when he is being manipulated. He is blind, dumb and deaf to all but the song of the NS sirens. You can make a narcissist do ANYTHING by offering, withholding, or threatening to withhold narcissistic supply (adulation, admiration, attention, sex, awe, subservience, etc.).
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